The Byron Bay Locals Weren't Thrilled With the Netflix Reality Series 'Byron Baes'

The new Netflix "docu-soap" 'Byron Baes' takes viewers to Byron Bay, Australia. But where exactly is it? Here's what we know about the location.

Sara Belcher - Author

Feb. 23 2022, Published 9:14 p.m. ET

'Byron Baes'
Source: Netflix

Netflix has taken its viewers to various points across the globe with its countless original shows and movies. One of its more recent series, Twentysomethings: Austin, took viewers to the Texas capital as a group of 20-somethings moved to the area to see if they found a new city where they could thrive.

Now, the streaming service is taking us to the other side of the world with Byron Baes, a reality series featuring a cast of creatives trying to make it big in what Netflix calls "the Instagrammable epicenter of Australia’s counterculture."

But where is Byron Bay? (Spoiler: The locals aren't excited about the show.)

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Where is Byron Bay located?

Byron Baes takes place in Byron Bay, Australia, a little beachside town that's in the northeast corner of New South Wales. This lands it a little under 500 miles (805 hm) away from Sydney — putting the show's cast of characters a bit of a distance away from one of the country's most-recognized cities.

Australia map
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Byron Bay was originally inhabited and owned by the Arakwal People. Its elders called the place "Cavvanbah," which means "meeting place." Despite the area becoming a tourist spot for the county and primarily being inhabited by Australians, the Byron Bay website includes a note about the Arakwal People.

"We acknowledge the Arakwal People as the Traditional Owners of the Byron Shire area, we pay our respect to the Elders past, present and emerging," the website reads.

Byron Bay is the "most easterly point of the Australian mainland," and people come from all over the country to see the Cape Byron lighthouse and other attractions.

"The region is known for its spectacular beaches, unique shopping and dining experiences, world-class festivals, and vibrant community spirit," the website reads. "Beyond the township of Byron Bay, the region includes many seaside villages, quaint hinterland towns, and large regional centres, all with their own unique character."

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What is 'Byron Baes' about? Not everyone is happy about the upcoming show.

While Byron Bay isn't one of the most commonly known places in Australia (at least to Americans), it's become a hub for creatives to gather and share ideas. In the upcoming Netflix "docu-soap," Byron Baes, newcomers Sarah and Jade come to the town to join in with a tight-knit group of other creatives, hoping to find a way to each launch their respective career aspirations.

But when the series was announced, the residents of Byron Bay weren't happy with the upcoming publicity.

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Local politicians were vocal about their disapproval of the show, calling it "tacky" and "vapid," according to NME. One of the locals' biggest grievances with the show's premise is that many of the cast members relocated to Byron Bay, removing some of the authenticity to the experience being portrayed.

“I think the community has come out so strongly because this is not who they are and this is not who they want to be portrayed as,” said Byron Shire Council's Green Deputy Mayor Sarah Ndiaye.

'Byron Baes'
Source: Netflix

Byron Bay mayor Simon Richardson also said the series would be "offensive to the community."

"We’ve almost got a Truman Show-type portrayal of who we are where everything is quite idyllic and superficial, where out the back it’s an empty parking lot,” he said. “We’ve got a community that is in real stress, we’ve got a community that has real life issues dealing with housing, work, affordability.”

Regardless, it seems the show was produced anyway and will drop on Netflix on March 9.

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